UC Law Environmental Journal


Lena Freij


Environmental justice communities and advocates have used the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) as a necessary tool to incorporate their concerns into agency decision-making. However, environmental justice is neither mentioned in the statutory language of CEQA, nor was it intended as a fundamental purpose of CEQA as an environmental review statute. Thus, in order to understand where CEQA reform would be most successful in serving communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental burdens, CEQA’s history must be evaluated with comprehensive principles of environmental justice. As such, this paper explores why and how environmental justice principles can and should be implemented into CEQA.